If you’ve needed to rip a long length of board, then you know how beneficial track saws are in terms of streamlining time-consuming rip cuts and ensuring those cuts are accurate.
Which is why you’re here today, right? Hunting for the best track saw.
I’ll take you through track saw reviews, which detail the pros and cons. I’ll show you the benefits of the best tracks saws from brands such as Makita, to Festool and Bosch.
- Incredibly deep cutting capacity allowing you to reach those larger cutting depths of 2-3/16" at 90 degrees and 1-9/16.
- Equipped with Makita's 12 amp motor which churns out 2,000 or 5,500 rpm thanks to it's variable speed control drive.
- An amazingly accurate track saw delivering those precise straight-line cuts with a splinter-free smooth mirror finish, perfect for the professional and hobbyist alike.
- Comfortable rubberized grip gives a ergonomic comforts to minimize hand fatigue from extended use.
- Cutting system allows you to score material before taking a deep cut to avoid splintering.
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Best track saw reviews
Makita, like other brands such as Festool, has a reputation for creating one of the best track saws on the market and their SP6000J1 saw kit model really is no exception to that.
The maximum speed 12 amp motor has electric variable speed control. Thanks to a handy dial, you can adjust the speed from 2,000 to 5,500 RPM, so you can maintain the best speed for a smooth and precise cut. This is kept true thanks to its constant speed control. This electronic speed control ensures you enjoy a rotating speed that is kept constant even under load conditions, ensuring you get a fine finish.
Though take care with the blade speed, while you can adjust it, I advise you to keep to the Makita’s recommended running speed; running it too high can result in a poorer cut. It comes down to the right speed for the right task.
What I love, and is the best part of this plunge track saw, is its portability. While this track saw can cut through heavy and hard materials, it’s ideal for breaking down large wood panels such as sheets of plywood.
The optional 55″ guide rail system is made from robust anodized aluminum and helps with those long straight cuts.
The SP6000J1 has a rather large cutting capacity. It can cut to a depth of 2-3/16″ at 90 degrees and 1-9/16″ at 45 degrees. It’s got a good bevel capacity which ranges from -1 to 48 degrees, offering positive stops at 22.5 and 45 degrees. It has a built-in stop with enables you to make a 2mm scoring cut before you make your full depth cut.
The plunge release level is in a position within easy reach which is great for operator comfort. It features a 6-1/2″ blade size.
- The dust collection system works really well
- Excellent bevel capacity
- Speed dial for matching cutting speed to depth and wood type
- The guiding rail stays firmly in place when in use
- The soft-start feature helps with operator comfort and accurate cuts
- Has a hard time cutting plywoods thicker than one inch
- The one-year warranty covers the tool but not the track
- If you push too hard, the brake can engage, and then the soft-start means you need to wait for it to get up to speed again
- Zero clearance TrackSaw cutting system delivers straight, splinter-free, precise cuts
- On track cut depth: 2-1/8" @90 degrees and 1-5/8" @ 45 degrees; depth of cut scale accurately accounts for thickness of track
- Continuous Anti-Kickback mechanism and riving knife prevent kickback when engaged
Like I’ve come to expect from any good track saw, the DCS520ST1 saw kit makes a precise and splinter-free cut.
With its safety features such as a spring-loaded riving knife and anti-kickback mechanism, these prevent kickback. Add to that its straight plunge mechanism, and this couldn’t be easier to use.
When cutting at a 90-degree angle, this has a cutting capacity of 2-1/8″ and 1-5/8″ at 45 degrees. Its universal 1-1/4″ dust port can connect to any dust collection system.
This track saw comes with a 60V battery, giving you perfect portability on a job site. A Dewalt fast charge can ensure that the battery is charged quickly.
With the 60V battery, the motor gives you an rpm range between 2,000 and 5,200 RPM fast. But if you use a 9.0 AH battery instead, you increase the cutting speed and the cutting power for those deeper and heavier projects; I find that makes this the best cordless track saw.
The 6-1/2 inch saw blade is up to the task for all types of rip cuts, even more so when paired up to the guide rail track system.
- Excellent for cutting plywood and all kinds of materials
- No chipping or rough cuts
- Strong battery life from the 60V battery
- Easy to change the blade
- Decent dust collection (around 60% recovery)
- Can lock up sometimes after extended use (fixed with some added lubrication)
- Directions are slightly vague, but that’s standard with power tools
- A fast cut might slightly burn the wood, so get your speeds right
- Track saw with plunge action – provides fast, easy setup for one-step clean finish cuts in wood and wood-based sheet goods such as laminated particle boards and plywood
- Plunge mechanism – allows for precise plunge cuts with accurate depth of cut
- Single bevel pivot point – when sawing using a track (sold separately), the track can be positioned in the same way for bevel cuts or non-bevel cuts
I like to compare the Bosch GKT12-225L saw kit with a Festool, as this is a combination of the best plunge-action track saw features. Its speed is fast, and it’s very easy to set up.
When it comes to wood-based sheets, plywood, laminated particle boards, the Bosch GKT12-225L results in precise plunge cuts thanks to its easy-to-use plunge mechanism. Its three-step blade change system means you can easily swap out a new blade.
The guiding track system (sold separately) can be adjusted to make bevel cuts. This can also maintain its cutting speed under demanding projects.
Cleanup is easy since you can connect this to a vacuum cleaner or shop vac for dust collection.
If your project is demanding and using a lot of power, this model has overload protection against overheating. While it may take longer, your track saw will survive the cuts. A standard 6 1 2 inch blade is included with this model and has a bevel capacity of -1 to 48 degrees.
- Slows down or overheats are a rarity on this model.
- The robust connection system does not dent the track
- Dust port stays tight and in position throughout use
- Quality saw deck
- Stable track system
- Saw has a little more friction, so cuts take more effort
- A bit pricey
The Festool TS 55 REQ saw kit includes an impressive 55″ saw track and the included track guide ensures precise cuts. With this being a Festool, this is a combination of all the best track saw features.
The Festool track guide keeps the saw itself firmly in place for accurate straight cuts. Plus, its advanced plunge cut design and riving knife automatically retract the blade into the full-cover blade guard when it’s not in use, talk about safe. Dust cleanup is easy, too, something that’s almost a given with a Festool tool.
The Festool track has a handy zero-clearance strip on the blade side; it comes deliberately oversized, so when you first use it, it’s cut by the blade to fit perfectly to the edge of your saw blade. This results in clean, splinter-free cuts.
The design of this is phenomenal. Whether the bevel angle is 90 or 45 degrees, the cut line stays in line with the guide rail strip, ensuring zero-clearance cuts.
All in all, this saw comes with some of the best features, including micro-adjustable depth controls, but that’s what I’ve come to expect from a Festool tool.
- Makes bevel cuts smoothly and precisely
- Flexible bevel capacity
- Excellent dust port fitted
- Easy to use variable speed dial
- Triple-bearing motor includes soft start mode
- Produces quality splinter-free cuts
- May slightly burn wood if used too fast. Read the manual!
- Festool price tag
If you are looking for one of the most adaptable and best track saws on the market, look no further than the Kreg ACS2000 saw kit.
This has a cutting depth up to 2-1/8″ deep at 90 degrees and 1 1/2″ at 45 degrees. It has a 6-1/2 inch blade that can cut through a wide range of woods, including plywood, hardwoods, and solid boards.
This can be used standalone, but you can also pair it with the Project Table kit for additional benefits.
When it comes to safety, this Kreg model includes a riving knife and a bunch of anti-kickback tools. Like most of the options on this list, it can make a splinter-free cut in wood pieces up to 50″ in length while using between 2,000 rpm and 5,200 rpm from its powerful 12-amp motor with an electronic brake.
- Leaves a smooth and splinter-free finish
- Great for those quick finishing touches
- Simple and easy to use
- Nice long guide rail length
- fantastic cutting depth
- Screws for the track connectors are smaller than other screws on the saw, so you need more tools
- No place to store the provided wrench, so easily lost
- Dust port needs to empty often, as it gets a bit clogged.
The Shop Fox W1835 track saw is an excellent addition to this list. If you are looking for a portable saw, then this track saw, when used with its optional accessory pack and guide rail, will make cuts in full sheets of plywood and trim the bottom off of doors.
With its true riving knife and guide rail, you get a whole host of safety features and accurate cuts, and thanks to its anti-kickback mechanism, you are kept safe.
It’s powered by a 12 amp powerful electric motor capable of speeds as high as 5,500 RPM. This means that the blade spins are 9070 feet a minute!
The minimum size for this track saw is 160mm diameter with a 20mm arbor. Its 1-1/2 dust collection port works wonders are removing the dust created during cuts.
This is the best affordable track saw which includes a bevel gauge that locks to perform bevel cuts up to 45 degree.
With a 1-1/2″ dust collection port as well as secondary handles for stable cutting, and a spring-loaded riving knife removes the chance of pinching of kickback for added safety.
- Fantastic mid-range tool
- Works well over extended use
- Simple and easy to use
- Nice long guide rail length
- A smoother depth stop would be nice
- cut depth a bit limited.
Best Track Saw Buyer’s Guide
If you’ve gone through the list and are unsure whether or not to get a Makita, Festool, or Bosch saw, then keep reading, as hopefully, this section will help you come to a decision and cement your comparisons.
Table Saw vs. Circular Saw
The biggest difference between a table saw and a circular saw comes down to how you cut the material. With a circular saw, you move the blade through the material, while with a table saw, the saw blade remains in position, and you move the material through the blade.
Both can cut at 90 degrees or at a 45-degree angle. You need to consider what your projects are and how often you’ll work with your saw, also how powerful that saw needs to be.
A table saw works best for cutting angles or repeatable cuts. It’s great for working with harder materials as you can get some serious horsepower (HP) motors on these. They are also fantastic for dealing with smaller material pieces since the saw can stay still. You can move the material, though use a push stick to save your fingers.
A cabinet saw can cut longer material pieces, but you will need more workshop space, and I suggest extension tables. You can have someone help you hold the pieces as you push through, but accuracy and safety start to become a concern. If you have a shop that you do your work within it, a table saw will probably be your best bet.
Table Saw Pros
- Allows you to move the material through the saw
- Works better for smaller pieces, and a faster cut
- You can add different accessories for more efficient use
Table Saw Cons
- It might require more assistance if you cut bigger pieces
- Not as portable as a circular or track saw
A circular saw is much better for cutting longer material pieces, especially when doing so on-site. They don’t take up a lot of space, even if you have a guide rail, making them perfect for those with limited space. It can be stowed in a closet when not in use.
However, for those repeated cuts, they take longer to set up, and you can never be sure that you are making the same cut every time. A circular saw is best for hobbyist woodworkers and for those who would use it infrequently. For beginning woodworkers, starting with a circular saw, a guide rail, and a pair of saw horses is a fantastic choice. When you find yourself limited by your circular saw, you can see about upgrading to a table saw. But for most purposes, you can use your circular saw.
Track Saw vs. Table Saws
There is a hard truth about track saws and table saws, and that is that their strengths overlap. Both offer a powerful, fast circular blade, so from that aspect, they perform rather similarly. Track saws are ideal for making straight cuts in longer workpieces. You can also take the saw on-site or bring your materials to the saw.
A plunge cut track saw will also make straight cuts fast and smoothly, even though it won’t have as powerful a motor. They are easier to handle, which tends to lead to them being more reliable for beginner woodworkers. Plus, you can align the track with the line you want to cut, so the cut is done quickly; there’s little to no measurement or guesswork for that perfect cut.
Track saws also eliminate the need to clamp your materials down since the saw works on top of the material. You move the saw the cutting track on top of the material, making a track saw perfect for working in tight spaces where you need a mobile power tool.
Track Saw Pros
- Ideal for those tight spaces
- light and easy to store
- Makes smooth and clean cuts
- Features a powerful, fast-working circular blade
Track Saw Cons
- It takes a long time to set up
On the other hand, table saws are much more versatile for ripping boards where you have space and also for working with smaller, repeated cuts in a short time frame. They also have very powerful motors which are mounted under the working table. With it mounted under the table, you control the cutting depth by extending and retracting the blade into the table.
If you are making several rip cuts or identical pieces, then a table saw works best. Even more so, if you are on a schedule, these saws make equal cuts quickly thanks to their fixed fence. The hard-working motor works best when cutting thick pieces of heavy hardwoods. It will last long periods without tiring out or getting overheated.
Table Saw Pros
- Excellent for making fast and identical cuts
- Takes less time and effort to use
- Has a powerful, longer-working motor
- Cuts many pieces of wood without overheating or wearing down
Table Saw Cons
- Takes up much more space than a track saw
- Heavier to move around, especially if it’s a cabinet saw
Track Saw vs. Circular Saw
A track saw includes a guide rail that is made from an anti-slip material, which minimizes the possibility of any accidents and ensures that you create more precise cuts. Track saws can be cumbersome to carry around since you have to carry the saw and the accompanying guide rail. They are still incredibly portable. Bear in mind that you don’t need to always mount them to your worktable.
These include measurement and precision features that ensure that you achieve a perfect cut on all workpieces, along with built-in anti-kickback safety measures. Miter cuts and angular cuts require careful precision, something your plunge cut track saw will excel at, ensuring you get the job done.
Track Saw Pros
- Reduces the possibility of accidents
- Incredible cutting precision
- The anti-slip track keeps the saw in place, helping you rip boards
Circular saws, on the other hand, are much more common workshop power tools. The circular blade allows you to make solid cuts in all kinds of materials. The circular saw’s accuracy in cutting wood isn’t the best, it can also cut metal, but both require the user to be spot on for precise cuts.
Circular saws come in many types; you’ll find corded track saws most common in a workshop, but a cordless track saw is also a viable option. There are also hand-held and even table saws that you can lock onto your work table. You might even find a plunge circular saw out in the wild. A plunge circular saw just means that the blade will plunge into the material you are cutting. Though I find circular saws are more useful for intentional rough cuts or rip wounds.
The main difference between these saws is their cutting capacity and precision. Both saws work with many different kinds of materials, but if you need accurate and smooth, precise cuts, then a track saw might be the best option.
Circular Saw Pros
- Can create intentional rough cuts but with the right saw blade, even smooth ones
- Available in different types, corded and cordless, plunge saw, and not
- Capable of a range of cutting capacity
Best Track Saw FAQ.
You’ll find plenty of excellent track saws from brands like Kreg and Festool. Though I still want to go over some more things about how they work, which types are the best, and what you can expect from your track saw.
What Is a Track Saw?
A track saw is as it sounds. It’s a saw which slides on a guide rail track. This allows you to make better cuts in wood. It’s also called a plunge saw, or plunge-cut saw, since the saw itself plunges into the material you are cutting. Guiding the saw on the track allows for more accurate cuts, and you can pre-measure those cuts for better precision.
You can adjust the track so the saw will stop at the end of what it’s cutting. Doing so reduces the chance of tear-out and splitting in the material. It also increases operator safety. You also have a choice between a cordless track saw or plug it into the wall.
How to Use a Track Saw
A track saw is one of the most versatile and portable saws on the market. Still, you should remember a few things before you use one, especially if you are new to woodworking.
Use the right saw blades and take care of them
The majority of track saws work best when used with wooden materials. Cutting through steel, metal, or ceramics can damage even the best track saw. It can also be dangerous to the user.
Using the right saw blades for your track saw is important. You want to ensure that they are sharp and the right size for your saw. The best size is a 160mm diameter blade size with a 20mm round arbor bore. The right blade size will save you time and stress and will ensure you cut through materials easily.
I suggest that you check your blades for damage before use. A dull or damaged blade will increase your work time, create route cuts on your materials and potentially burn them, and it might be unsafe for you, the user. Thankfully making a blade change is very easy on most models.
Adjust the Riving Knife and Depth of Cut
Make sure you keep an eye on your saw’s riving knife. This helps protect you from blade kickback. Adjusting it before each use ensures the safety and quality work. If you keep it aligned with the blade, it’ll minimize the chance of accidents or injury.
Set the depth of cut properly too. Some materials are thicker than others, so you need to set your blade to cut through them. The typical cutting depth is usually 1/8″, but the cuts shouldn’t go so deep that it threatens the function of the saw.
Use a Guide Rail for Best Results
Hold the track firmly in place when the track is in use. A track saw is a powerful tool, so you need to hold it firmly against the material you are cutting to ensure proper and precise cuts. Even though the saw will stop at the end of the track, you still need to hold the power tool down to keep the cut straight and clean. Most track saws have a handle to help you.
Do not underestimate the usefulness of the guide rails. You can use track saws without them, but guide rails help the saw stay on its set path, and to protect you from splinters, guide rails can be clamped to your work, so holding the saw down is not necessary.
Double Check Everything Before Each Use
I suggest double-checking everything before you turn the saw on, especially the cutting path. When making blind plunge cuts, you can’t see the route the track saw will take. You should never run your track saw through a cutting path that’s not clear. There are many objects, even nails hidden, that made damage your saw if you do not have a clear blade path.
Make sure to check variable speed motors. While they can run as low as 2,000 RPM, they can also run up to anywhere between 5,200 RPM and 5,500 RPM, so check the variable speed dial before each use.
Activate Your Saw Properly
To turn on your track saw’s power, you need to press the plunge release and the power trigger together. I find that I get the best results when I’ve used the plunge release but don’t extend the blade before pressing the power trigger.
This is handy for those track saws which feature a soft start; it lets the blade reach maximum speed before use. This lessens the chance of kickback and creates more precise cuts. Plus, the saw will cut through materials like a hot knife through butter, reducing the load on the motor.
Protect Yourself From Injury
Even if you are an expert saw user, you should still exercise safety precautions. Keep your handles and any other objects well out of the way of the cutting path. Wear protective clothing, especially for your eyes and ears.
When the saw’s not in use, make sure the blade guard covers any exposed blades.
What Is a Track Saw Used For?
Your track saw is one of the most portable of all workshop saws and among the most powerful. Track saws work great for larger projects with larger material pieces. If you need to make longer cuts than a single guide rail allows, no worries, just add another.
Track saws have pivoting shoes; this allows them to make all kinds of cuts at different angles. These make excellent plunge cuts, which you can make from the middle of a workpiece for hiding/exposing electrical wires or sink fittings. Many brands such as Makita, Festool, and Bosch offer great options for plunge cuts in their plunge saw range.
Remember to follow any specific steps for plunge cuts as they require more care than bevel cuts or straight cuts.
Cutting Studs for Walls or Frame Structures
Using a track saw to cut stud walls or frame structures works really well. A track saw can be clamped to the wall, ensuring straight, precise cuts. A track saw can help you measure one piece of stock and then make exact duplicates; this way, you don’t have to measure and mark each piece individually, saving time.
Using a track saw is one of the best options for cutting drywall, as this material creates a lot of dust. Most track saws feature dust ports that remove all of that dust directly into a bag. Some track saw models even have a hose that vacuums debris from the work surface as you go.
Although this list has some of the best track saws from Bosch and Festool, For me, there is only one winner, and that’s the Makita SP6000J1 6-1/2 Inch Plunge Circular Saw Kit.
I was incredibly impressed by its splinter-free precise cuts produced by its powerful 12 amp motor. The variable speed dial and the really impressive depth of cut just made it a winder for me. The Festool is an excellent runner-up.
I’ve gone through some of the best track saws from top brands such as Festool and Makita, but it comes down to what you want and need from a track saw. What projects you are going to be tackling and the tools that those projects need. You need to define what your needs are and find the best track saw to suit your purposes, when you’ve worked out your needs go back over my list of the best track saw reviews above, I guarantee you’ll find what you need in that list
Whether you choose a Makita, Kreg, Bosch, or Festool, there is a track saw for you. Good luck with your next woodworking project. I hope it’s fun and your best yet.
Last update on 2021-06-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API